I did it! It took me about a month but I finally found some hazel for my allotment archway, Huzzah! It’s locally sourced from the New Forest by a lovely fellow called Dave Dibden and he was ever so kind enough to invite me to the area where he coppices so I could pick out the pieces that I wanted for my archway. We settled on 10 thick pieces of hazel which are roughly 9 foot tall, these will become the 5 sturdy uprights on each side of my archway and they should last longer then the thinner hazel poles. I also picked up 8 poles which will be placed inbetween each sturdy upright so that the beans and sweet peas have more poles to climb up on. Aswell as the side poles I gathered lots of thinner hazel to weave through the uprights to make it structurally sound and also 5 bendy hazel rods to create the hoops which will attach to the 5 main thicker uprights to create the actual archway over my head (I know that probably makes no sense at all so I put together a little drawing of what I am hoping my archway will look like at the end!)
Now that I have my hazel I am excited and very eager to get started on the archway, the weather on the other hand has other ideas. Last week was filled with glorious sunshine and it seems this weekend is going to be a complete and utter wash out! However, it does give me time to get organised and to look at some tutorials and videos on how to use hazel and to manipulate it into shapes and curves. These particular photographs in particular have inspired me greatly. I love the rustic and almost wild look to the archways and how they blend so well into the garden.
I don’t want my archway to be neat and straight, I want it to have character and charm and I especially want that cottage garden, rustic look! It does however, have to be structurally sound, I am going to be growing sweet peas, borlotto beans AND mini pumpkins on it so it will need to withstand a certain amount of weight. Also due to my tallness (I am 6ft) I would ideally like my archway to be tall enough so that I can walk through it without knocking my head on the climbing baby pumpkins. Oh dear.. this has got me even more excited and I am raring to go, I am tempted to get out the old waterproofs and brave the rain!
I would like to say a huge thank you to Dave for providing me with the perfect hazel and some inspiration and tips. I am now a complete hazel addict and plan on creating some hoop cloches to go over my strawberry beds, which means another trip to the forest is in order 🙂